All tv shows, movies, plays and books rely on one simple concept to be able to entertain. Their audience must willingly suspend their disbelief. We sit down in a movie theater knowing that there’s no way a human being could actually jump up into the sky and fly nor that animals can talk and sing or that people over the age of five write the scripts for Transformers movies.
We, as the audience, are collaborators with story tellers because without our compact with them to put aside reality for a brief period of time to buy into their scenarios, none of it would work. The deal is, we get to be entertained and they get to profit and have the satisfaction of successfully entertaining people.
Reality television is unique, it is presented to the public to appear authentic but is very often scripted in an indirect way or manipulated by the show’s producers to deliver the drama and outcomes desired.
Knowing all this makes it easier to understand why we have started off this Presidential election season with the debuts of the new reality tv shows, “Hillary For You!”, “Cruzin For a Bruzin'”, “Paul in the Family” and “Rubio’s Fishy Talkos” instead of earnest political campaigns…and why we as the public share the blame.
There’s such an obvious suspension of disbelief on our part as Americans that allows these “shows” to be broadcast and compete for ratings (the ultimate ratings in this American Idol type competition is the Presidential election in 2016). We all know that these reality shows, known as political campaigns, are not genuine.
Our problem is that we are too quick to buy into these “shows”, instead of demanding that presidential campaigns are about issues, we participate in the gotcha games, the pandering and the inflating of the banal into meaningful news stories because we like to be entertained (yes, it’s really a meaningful news story that Hillary ordered a burrito and guacamole at a Chipolte). We need to stop looking to political elections as entertainment and demand substance.
In the meantime…
Hillary Clinton literally launched her campaign with a tv commercial that as some have described, looks like an ad for life insurance or a cholesterol drug (“If you have an election lasting more than two years, seek immediate political attention to avoid long term injury to your democracy.”). That was just the first episode of “Hillary For You!”, here are the first three episodes in this season:
HILLARY FOR YOU!
Episode 1: “The Queen of Humility”
To attract more voters by convincing them she’s not as cocky as she was in 2007, Hillary releases an announcement video starring every calculated demographic group instead of herself, only appearing in a cameo role at the end and modestly asking to be given the leadership of the free world.
Episode 2: “A Chipolte Off the Old Block”
Trying to shrug off her actual elitist position in society, Hillary joins up with Shaggy and Scooby in her Mystery Machine van to cross the heartland of America, solving crimes against gastrointestinal discomfort by eating foods that typical Americans eat as if she actually has eaten them before and enjoys them.
Episode 3: “Getting Corny”
Hillary arrives in Iowa and visits with everyday people, trying to practice not looking completely bewildered by hearing how they live. Reporters try to get her to answer issue related questions but she only responds by eating fried sticks of butter.
On another channel, all the way over on the far right (Fox News), there are three other series running including this one:
RUBIO’S FISHY TALKOS
Episode 1: “Talkos Is Cheap”
Marco launches his Presidential campaign with one major theme, “Old people suck!” Targeting the Millennial generation and supporters of geronticide (killing the elderly), Rubio simultaneously positions himself against Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Medicare, Social Security and senior discounts on cat food.
Episode 2: “Old is the New New”
Marco flips the script on what’s new and what’s old, presenting his policies that would take America back to the past as “new ideas” and Hillary Clinton’s policies of improving wages and the standard of living for America as “the past”. Reporters swarm him as he leaves a screening of “Birth of a Nation” at a revival house and he tells them, “This is the best new movie of the year!”
Episode 3. “How Dry I Am”
Appearing at a campaign stop, Marco suddenly realizes as he begins his speech that there are no water bottles around. Refusing to give up, Marco’s voice gradually becomes weak and high pitched, causing a five year old boy in the crowd to ask his mother, “What’s that crazy lady saying?” After coughing and gasping and rolling on his back flailing his arms and legs, his aides return with a hose and hose him down until he’s fully hydrated and able to get back on his feet.
Then there’s this underwhelming series:
PAUL IN THE FAMILY
Episode 1: “Opposites Attract”
Rand makes the big announcement that he’s running for President and proclaims that he supports positions he opposed and opposes positions he supported. Everything’s upside-down for Rand, especially his poll numbers!
Episode 2: “The He-Man Woman Haters Club”
In a series of interviews with women journalists, Rand goes out of his way to insult them for asking him questions but doesn’t do the same to men. He has to defend himself from the charge of being disrespectful to women so he responds by insulting Hillary Clinton.
Episode 3: “Rand, I Am Your Father!”
Rand has his hands full when his kooky dad, Ron, talks to reporters about ending Medicare, Social Security, the Post Office and police and fire services as well as marriage, national parks and forcing people to drive on one side of the street.
Lastly, there’s this wacky series:
CRUZIN’ FOR A BRUZIN’
Episode 1: “Imagination Nation”
Ted attends a rally to proclaim his run for the Presidency and tells America that his campaign is all about imagining things, explaining that his track record shows that it’s something he’s very good at doing. Top on his imaginary list of course, is his having a good chance to become President.
Episode 2: “Money Honey”
Billionaire Bob Mercer wants to back Ted Cruz’s campaign but only to stop the IRS from making him have to pay billions in back taxes he owes. He warns Ted that he’ll have to sacrifice his principles, ethics and reputation to do as he’s told in exchange for millions in campaign funding. Ted pretends to know what Bob’s talking about.
Episode 3: “Iran and Ran”
Ted runs on stopping the Obama’s deal to keep Iran from making nuclear weapons in favor of bombing Iran and is thrown back on the defensive when a photo shows up on the internet of him romantically kissing Dick Cheney.
No need to set your DVR, these shows will be replayed every day on all the news channels.